MINNEOLA — Lake County Parks & Trails Division, Public Lands Management Section, Lake County Water Authority and The Nature Conservancy are hosting two Florida Scrub-jay workshops at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, at Minneola City Hall, located at 800 N. U.S. Highway 27, and on Friday, April 24, at Trout Lake Nature Center, located off County Road 44 in Eustis.
The purpose of the workshops is to get volunteers to help with a detailed Florida Scrub-jay survey beyond the countywide survey. The workshops will cover protocols, data entry and assign volunteers to specific Florida Scrub-jay sites to begin determining the number of jays, ages and other information vital to preserving this species in Lake County.
“With Florida Scrub-jays almost entirely missing from some other Central Florida counties, we’d like to avoid that possibility in Lake County, especially South Lake County where fragmentation may already be affecting the population,” said Gallus Quigley, a Lake County park ranger. “Without detailed surveys, we will not know to what extent jays have been impacted and what sites, if any, should be preserved or managed for these amazing birds.”
The Lake County Parks & Trails Division and Public Lands Management Section are in the beginning stages of conducting a countywide survey of the threatened Florida Scrub-jay and are asking for the public’s help in finding the state’s only endemic bird species. The County is looking for volunteers to survey four square miles for scrub-jays and to assist in following up on sightings that are reported through the Web site.
The public is encouraged to assist in this monumental task by reporting sightings of the Scrub-jay on the Parks Web page and filling out the online Web form. The Web form asks scrub-jay spotters to identify the location of the spotting, as well as some brief contact information. After receiving reported sightings, Lake County park rangers will verify the sightings and add it to their list of scrub-jay habitats.
For more information about the Florida Scrub-jay workshops or survey, call the Parks & Trails Division at (352) 253-4950 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.